START HERE - Pick the Right Kodi Box (updated Dec 2020)
Holy cow, 60 pages to this thread. Please let me know if there's a separate forum for "help me pick hardware" questions, and I'll move my post...

I'm looking to pick up a new Kodi box this year, as my current Asus Chromebox chokes on some HEVC content. I don't have a 4k t.v. and don't plan on getting one for another ~2 years. But I do want the ability to play media in whatever format I find it - just grab the highest quality, and not have to worry about re-acquiring my entire library later on. So 1080p 10-bit HEVC (which I'm seeing more frequently these days) is a must - 4k 10-bit HEVC would be "nice". Also, I watch some anime, which often comes in hi-10p (10bit h264). I don't use netflix, but I do have prime. Would like to keep it in the < $300 range.

My first thought was to get a NUC of some flavor, and run Ubuntu - because I'm most familiar with "real computers", and I'm not a fan of android. But then I discovered that Skylake CPU's only do 10-bit HEVC in a "hybrid" mode, and i3/i5's can max out decoding it. Kaby Lake will do full-hardware 10-bit HEVC, but there's only one NUC available so far (MSI Cubi 2). On the other hand, the first post of this thread says several android options do hardware 4k 10-bit HEVC (Odroid C2, WeTek Hub). But the Odroid thread says no hi-10p, and that "a decent Intel machine" is required for software hi-10p. An NVidia shield might fit the bill - but in addition to what seem to be a lot of glitches/issues in the Shield thread, it's basically a console, which is kind of the opposite of what I started out wanting (a linux computer).

At this point, my eyes are starting to glaze over, and I feel a strong desire to get drunk. Do I get the bleeding edge Kaby Lake i3/i5 NUC, and risk driver problems in Ubuntu? Or a known quantity Skylake NUC, and risk not being able to play some 10bit HEVC content? Or an Odroid, and give up on anime? Or a Shield, and be sad that I'm stuck in Android land, with a game controller for a remote (plus maybe bugs?)

Honestly, I'm still leaning Kaby Lake... I just don't want to pull the trigger, discover something doesn't work under Linux, and then be forced to shell out another $100 for (ugh) Windows 10. (Apparently, microsoft is claiming Win 7 won't run on Kaby Lake?) Argh! Can someone help me out, so that I can close these 47 browser tabs and get some sleep?

Messages In This Thread
The right box for me - by tyem - 2016-01-13, 15:29
Jesus Box - by kellyvb - 2016-03-04, 20:18
RE: START HERE - Pick the Right Kodi Box (updated Oct 2016) - by meeotch - 2016-11-03, 07:03
Thanks for the Help! - by jmc15john - 2016-11-09, 16:44
Jarvis crashes and wipes - by gotthis2000 - 2017-01-10, 22:14
RE: Jarvis crashes and wipes - by nickr - 2017-01-10, 22:58
T95Z Plus Android TV Box - by gooner1971 - 2017-03-17, 13:04